TERN expands its regional international collaboration

TERN has partnered with the scientists planning a future Korean Ecological Observatory Network to share knowledge, expertise and experience and advance Australia’s standing in the regional ecosystem science community

As our chief scientist recently pointed out in the science benchmarking report he released at the start of the month, there are many benefits of international collaboration including ‘expanding researchers’ capacity to respond to complex problems by drawing on diverse skills and perspectives, reducing unnecessary duplication of research effort, and broadening the scale and scope of research teams’.

Here at TERN we have long agreed with such sentiments and have well established international partnerships that facilitate joint research, shared infrastructure and access to data.

Not only do we collaborate extensively with international partners in northern America and Europe, but also regionally with countries including New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan and China. We are now excited to announce South Korea as our newest regional partner.

Earlier this month, TERN hosted eight Korean delegates planning for a future Korean Ecological Observatory Network (KEON) building on the current Korea Long-Term Ecological Research Network (KLTERN).

KEON is still in the early stages of development and its members are seeking to collaborate and learn from TERN on how to establish a successful ecosystem research infrastructure network. Of particular interest to the Korean delegation was TERN’s open-access data infrastructure, including the TERN Data Discovery Portal and Eco-informatics’ AEKOS data portal and also the concept of a “SuperSite” based on the TERN Australian Supersite Network.

It’s all part of a three year scoping study being undertaken prior to applying for funding to establishing a nation-wide terrestrial ecosystem research network in Korea.

Assoc Prof Ohseok Kwon, of Kyungpook National University, is leading the scoping study and, in addition to identifying the necessary infrastructure and administrative requirements of such a network, is also working to establish key indicator species that can be used to monitor the effects climate change in Korea. Ohseok was particularly interested in learning from TERN’s national ecosystem surveillance monitoring project, which also uses a small set of terrestrial biodiversity indicators to assess and monitor environmental condition.

‘It’s really exciting for us to come to Australia and collaborate with TERN, says Ohseok.  ‘We learnt a lot about how your network [TERN] operates and also about the types of research people are using it to assist with.

‘I hope that through further cooperation my colleagues and I in Korea can emulate the successes that TERN has achieved.’

The Korean delegation spent two days in the TERN office at the University of Queensland, followed by another two days exploring the infrastructure at our FNQ Rainforest SuperSite.

Kindly hosted by the Australian SuperSite Network coordinator, Mirko Karan, and the FNQ Rainforest SuperSite project leader, Assoc Prof Mike Liddell, the delegation learnt all about the fantastic work the rainforest SuperSite’s infrastructure facilitates, inducing outreach activities, drought and cyclone resilience projects, and vegetation phenology monitoring, to name but a few. They were also lucky enough to be given a bird’s eye view of the rainforest from the site’s canopy crane.

Our international collaborations allow us to present Australian ecosystem science to the world and advance Australia’s research standing globally. Anyone interested in collaborating further with TERN can contact the Director of Collaborations and Partnerships, Associate Professor Nikki Thurgate.

After a busy day of meetings collaborating and learning from TERN on how to establish a successful ecosystem research infrastructure network, representatives scoping a Korean Ecological Observatory Network (KEON) took time out to explore the research infrastructure at TERN’s FNQ Rainforest SuperSite (above)

Published in TERN newsletter December 2014

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